Cookie consent

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

April 2, 2024

Scalable disaster recovery techniques in cloud computing

More enterprises are migrating to the cloud, considering hybrid or multi-cloud options and adopting SaaS solutions to take advantage of the cost savings and scalability the cloud provides. 

However, this trend has significantly increased the complexity of disaster recovery (DR) strategies. This article provides an overview of disaster recovery in the cloud, and techniques and methods to scale your efforts with automated disaster recovery solutions

What is disaster recovery in cloud computing?

Regardless of whether your infrastructure is in the cloud, on-premises or hybrid, the basics of disaster recovery are the same. Disaster recovery in cloud computing is defined as: The strategies and services to back up applications, resources and data in the cloud. When a disaster event occurs - whether an outage, network failure, or something else - it is the process to recover and restore workloads in the cloud to resume business operations. 

However, there are some key considerations and nuances of cloud disaster recovery vs traditional IT disaster recovery.

Considerations for cloud disaster recovery

Before you outline a recovery strategy and build the plan, it’s important that you have foundational information on cloud computing and disaster recovery. Here are a few items to consider: 

  • The cloud architecture that underpins the services you provide to customers
  • The differences between traditional (datacenter) and cloud DR - region, availability zones (AZs), cloud service provider (CSP) services
  • The regulatory requirements and data privacy concerns you may face 

Disaster recovery strategies in the AWS cloud

Each CSP offers various disaster recovery strategies ranging in cost and complexity. For example, AWS segments four DR strategies into two primary categories: Active/Passive and Active/Active. 

  • Multi-site active/active - deploys all services across multiple AWS regions for zero downtime
  • Warm standby - deploys a scaled down but fully functional copy of the production environment in another region 
  • Pilot light - replicates data from one region to another and provisions a copy of core workload infrastructure
  • Backup and restore - makes periodic copies of data and applications to a separate, secondary device and then uses those copies to recover the data and applications

Scalable disaster recovery services in cloud computing

To scale disaster recovery and improve cloud resilience, utilize services from cloud service providers like AWS. Here are a few examples of AWS services that help you accelerate and scale your cloud DR process across thousands of servers:  

  • AWS Lambda: Auto-replicate the application in the failover region AZ or back to its primary site
  • AWS Resilience Hub: Define your resilience goals, assess your resilience posture against the goals and implement recommendations for improvement based on AWS’ framework
  • AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery (DRS): Initiate secure data replication with affordable storage, minimal compute and point-in-time recovery
  • AWS Fault Injection Service (FIS): Run controlled experiments to improve resilience and performance
  • AWS Route 53 Application Recovery Controller (ARC): Provides insights into whether your applications and resources are ready for recovery

Additionally, during a live recovery or test scenario in the cloud, you will likely need to use other tools from the technology recovery stack. This includes data from various IT service management (ITSM) or business continuity management (BCM) tooling such as ServiceNow, Remedy, or Jira. 

Designing an effective disaster recovery plan in the cloud

We already covered how to execute an IT disaster recovery plan that actually works, but let’s review some techniques to keep in mind when creating your IT disaster recovery plan for cloud computing or hybrid infrastructure. 

Define and maintain your application tiers

It’s important to maintain accessible and up-to-date documentation of which cloud workloads and services are mission critical, business critical, business operational and administrative, so you can prioritize the recovery of the most crucial ones. 

Cloud workloads and application services by tier

Build recovery strategies and plans by cloud workload tiers

In the cloud, IT disaster recovery is not as straightforward as a data center to data center failover. Instead of tracking one data center and a few DR strategies, you now manage multiple workloads and services that might be in different regions or AZs. Most likely, you’ll determine the DR strategy by the category of workload and manage multiple strategies.

No matter what application recovery tier you are addressing, the first step to effective recovery is building out your recovery strategy. This should describe how to bring the workloads and services to full recovery after any automatic failover or backups are complete. 

Cloud service providers, like AWS, provide various automatic failover strategies that range in RTOs, recovery point objectives (RPOs) and cost. 

Structure recovery runbooks for efficiency and visibility

Whether you build out your individual service-level recovery plans and use those to feed into a larger recovery runbook with multiple workloads, or build out the main runbook first and then drill down into the detail of individual plans, these cloud disaster recovery plans form parts of the recovery test or event as a whole.

Consider the complexities of your cloud architecture as you build or enhance your DR strategies. Cloud disaster recovery solutions help enterprises streamline testing and recovery procedures, reduce manual effort and errors, and mitigate risks.

How Cutover can help ensure the success of your DR in the cloud

Cutover’s Collaborative Automation platform and automated runbooks enable you to centrally store recovery procedures and execute disaster recoveries for complex cloud deployments while reducing costs, mitigating risk and meeting regulatory requirements.

Automate manual recovery tasks with executable runbooks

Cutover’s automated runbooks provide you with a foundational recovery platform to host and execute all of your recovery plans. Whether the tasks are automated or manual, you need a central system of execution to accurately monitor and manage all the activities needed to enact a cloud DR test or live recovery. 

Integrate recovery plans across your technology recovery stack 

By integrating technology tools across your entire technology recovery stack, you can add automation and efficiency into your failover process. Cutover’s open API and integration capabilities can connect with cloud service providers’ services or any application with an API. 

With the API, Cutover’s automated runbooks can also: 

  • Get triggered from monitoring systems that track the health of the network and associated applications
  • Orchestrate when mass communications are sent to disaster recovery teams and stakeholders 
  • Integrate with your ITSM platform to address ticketing and updates to the configuration management database (CMDB)

Track recovery progress with real-time dashboards

Typically, an enterprise will recover or run test scenarios for multiple applications at once. It’s critical to understand, in real time, the progress of each workload. Cutover’s dashboards can help you: 

  • Improve your cloud DR procedures with visibility into real-time metrics
  • Enable visibility of multi-application recovery progress with real-time dashboards for stakeholders and sharing with external team members
  • Automatically calculate and track your RTAs against RTOs, whether you’re rehearsing or actually recovering from an outage
  • Capture and validate RTAs to gain confidence that you can meet RTOs
  • Provide the right level of information to both team members and executives
  • Gain confidence that mission-critical AWS workloads are readily available and meet RTOs to ensure potential failures minimally impact customers and employees 

Simplify regulatory reporting with the immutable audit trail

As regulators worldwide increase scrutiny on resilience it’s crucial to remain compliant. With Cutover, you can easily prove cloud resilience with the immutable audit trail. It automatically logs every task and event in the platform including timings and users for effective auditing to ensure regulatory compliance. 

Automate cloud disaster recovery with Cutover

Learn more about how Cutover helps standardize and automate disaster recovery in the cloud, book a demo here.

Kimberly Sack
IT Disaster Recovery
Latest blog posts